The Pacman talks fight preparation, Bruce Lee’s philosophy and more before he enters the biggest fight of his career against Floyd Mayweather Jr this Sunday, May 3rd (May 2nd, US).
Famed boxer Manny Pacquiao will be facing the biggest challenge in his career, as he goes up against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. this Sunday, May 3rd, (May 2nd, US) in what’s been touted as the Fight of the Century at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. The much-anticipated match has taken years to come to fruition, and both fighters are intensively training to bring home the victory.
Nike sits down with Pacquiao prior to his big fight to gather his inner thoughts and motivations. Here are excerpts from the interview:
When you’re in the ring on May 2nd against Mayweather, how can you credit your work with getting you the win?
When you put in the hard work in training before the fight, you set up being able to do whatever you want in the ring. Whatever round – if you want to move you can move. All because you’ve done the hard work in the gym. If you’re not physically prepared for the fight then only your mind can help. Your body cannot respond, because you’re not in shape or you’re tired.
What is your mental approach to training?
When you’re preparing the fight you have to prepare your mind – you train your mind to focus on the fight. To focus on that event. Your mind is also focused on training. How you’re going to train everyday and what you’re going to do – running, training in the gym, so…that’s how you have to set your mind – you have to focus on that particular training.
Go back to when you turned pro at 16. Talk about the difference between your approach to training when you were 16 versus your training now in your 30s.
It’s different. When I was 16 years old I worked hard. I trained the whole day and I wasn’t worried about over-training because I was young. But when you get older you have to balance your body and you have to give your body time to rest. But in terms of focus to train – well, I’m still there! Dedicated to hard work.
You’ve defeated some of the greatest boxers of all time. Tell us how do you think your training routine may have helped you win those fights.
My training routine has helped a lot – that’s the only way you can win the fight. You have to go through the hard work before you get the crown!
Bruce Lee had an interesting philosophy…mentality when it came to training. What do you take from the wise martial artist…that you may have applied in your own training?
What I learned from Bruce Lee is the coordination between mind and body. Great discipline and the coordination of punch speed with foot speed. Preparing physically, spiritually, and mentally. It all must be combined and it will assure victory.
Let’s talk a bit about spirituality, what spirituality can do when you combine it with competition and when they come together and help you win.
When you are preparing spiritually and physically you have peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about what you are going to do. You have piece of mind…you’re ready to 100%…you have the killer instinct to make it a fight.
What are your thoughts on the country pride that you have when you see a lot of the apparel – like your t-shirts – with the Filipino flag colors on them?
I like the Nike shirt with my flag on it. I’m proud. Filipino people are inspired by me and they’re supporting me. So while I’m proud of myself, I always humble myself before them.
When you meet with young kids and they ask you for advice, what do you tell the children who want to be the next Manny Pacquiao?
I tell them that if they want to make a name in boxing, or whatever sport they love, then they have to focus. They have to have discipline and do the hard work that it takes to win.
In a few years down the road, when people look at Manny Pacquiao, how do you want them to see your legacy?
I want them to remember me 20 years from now as not only a champion in boxing but also as a follower of Jesus Christ. A follower of God. I want to be a good role model to everybody.
Any closing thoughts before the fight?
I will be ready to fight and I’m excited. I feel good because Jesus, God is with me giving me peace of mind and I’ve put the hard work in training so I have nothing to worry about. Feel good, training hard.
Will Manny Pacquiao emerge victorious against Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Watch the fight at a friendly pub near you or purchase the Pay-per-view if you are a Starhub subscriber.
Interview excerpts and images courtesy of Nike